The Utah Jazz did pretty much everything right over the past four years in building a playoff contender. They drafted well, developed young players into stars and contributors alike, and made smart veteran additions to earn the fifth-seed in the Western Conference in 2017. And yet, when their top star came up as an unrestricted free agent for the first time this summer, Gordon Hayward selected Boston over Utah for the next four years.
That decision was a significant blow to the Jazz who, while not a contender to win the West, had reached a level of success they hadn’t seen in a decade and were a young team capable of sustaining a playoff run for years to come. The question for Utah is, after finally having that building process pay off last year and seeing a star leave, what comes next.
In a conference where so many teams improved this season, the Jazz will have a very difficult time remaining the middle of the playoff seeding, but should remain a contender for a playoff spot in the West. Rudy Gobert remains in place and Utah is very confident that they can continue building presently around their Defensive Player of the Year contender.